Posts Tagged With: The Whites

Beaker Hiking the Whites

Beaker the chemist from West Virginia continues his NOBO hike of the Appalachian Trail.

7/18/17 – Destination: Galehead Hut 14.1 miles today

Beaker, Above Tree LineBeaker woke up this morning at The Notch Hostel in North Woodstock, New Hampshire with 373 miles of trail before reaching Mount Katahdin. It was a beautiful day on the trail. Sitting Bull and Hoops had to wait for packages at the post office, so Beaker left on the 7:45 AM shuttle to the trailhead. It took him two hours to climb the 2.3 miles to Franconia Ridge. As he neared the top of the ridge, the trees began to thin out. He finally broke out of the tree line for the first time to a spectacular vista. “The ridge stretched out in front of me, with the AT running along the spine. It was rugged and beautiful. The White Mountains are the toughest hiking we’ve done on the trail; but, the views are spectacular.”

LD_Galehead

Galehead Hut

Beaker had hopes of staying in the Huts along the trail in the White Mountains. The huts are manned by “croos” of college age kids. They also allow a couple of thru hikers to “work for stay” every night. In exchange for cabin chores, thru hikers get to eat leftover food and are allowed to sleep on the floor. There is a bit of an art to getting chosen for work for stay. If you arrive too early in the day, they send you on your way. If you arrive too late, they’ve already filled the spots. Beaker arrived too late at the Galehead Hut. The head of the croo did tell him about a nice stealth spot nearby. Beaker joined six others in their tents.  

7/19/17 Destination: Crawford Notch Campground, NH  14.6 today

Another beautiful day. Beaker was up and hiking by 7:30. His hike began with a near vertical climb to the summit of South Twin Mountain but he was rewarded with one of the most incredible views in the Whites. “In all directions, all I could see was row upon row of mountains. Mount Washington…was especially prominent on the horizon.

Around noon, Beaker arrived at Zealand Falls Hut and stopped in for a bowl of soup and some baked goods. The rest of the afternoon was spent on a painful descent each step pounding on his sore knees into Crawford Notch. Beaker realized that he was extremely tired, even though he had only hiked 14.6 miles. Mileage drastically slows down in the Whites.

He arrived with Jailbird, another graybeard hiker that Beaker has been hiking around with the past couple of days. They found out that the whole area was part of a state park and camping was forbidden. They were able to hitch a ride to a nearby campground. Discovering the camp had single room cabins, they chose actual beds, electricity, and a roof.  

7/20/17 Destination: Lakes of the Clouds Hut, NH     11.1 miles today

Beaker.Lakes of the Clouds

Lakes of the Clouds Hut

Jailbird and Beaker awoke at 5:00 and were ready to leave by 6 am.  The problem was that they were 3.3 miles from the trailhead and on a country road. The owner of the campground came out and said he’d run them up to the trailhead. They were on the trail by 7:00 and started climbing immediately. It was a typical White Mountain climb – long and steep, with several portions of hand over hand climbing. At least, the weather was beautiful and the views were incredible.

Beaker reached the Mitzpah Spring Hut around 11 am and bought lunch. The next goal was the summit of Mt Pierce. The trees dropped away just before the summit and exposed the stark beauty of the alpine environment.  Beaker arrived at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut at 2 pm. It is located about 1.5 miles and 1200 ft below the summit of Mt. Washington. But it is another 7 miles to Madison Hut and there was nowhere to camp in between. Beaker decided to stay and inquired about work for stay; The woman at the desk said that he could pay $10 and sleep on the floor of the dining room. So, that’s what he did.

Photo Galehead: http://adventuretravel.about.com/b/2013/04/07/amc-huts-125th-anniversary-30-percent-off-hut-to-hut-hike-trips.htm
Other Photos from Beaker’s blog: http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/572461

 

 

 

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Beaker, Galehead Hut, Lakes of the Clouds Hut, Mount Washington, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaker Into New Hampshire

20140816-172253.jpg

Dartmouth College

Beaker’s first day in New Hampshire (July 13) brought monsoon-like rain in the morning. He delayed his start until the rains stopped mid-morning. He then stopped at Dan and Whit’s General Store in Norwalk for a resupply and a deli sandwich for second breakfast. Crossing the Connecticut River, Beaker officially entered Hanover, New Hampshire. He enjoyed the college ivy-league town for awhile (Dartmouth College) by getting a free donut at the bakery and a slice of pizza from a hiker-friendly pizza shop. About 3:00, Beaker left Hanover and headed toward the woods of the Appalachian Trail. He still managed to hike a total of 11 miles before camping at a stealth site on Mink Brook.  

Sitting Bull and HoopsJuly 14 was a blustery, chilly day with lots of clouds but not much sunshine.”The trail was still mucky and muddy from all the rain we’ve been having and the trees were dripping water. All in all, another yucky day of hiking. It was also a pretty tough day of hiking. There was a lot of up and down….All the overlooks I passed were blank white screens – not a thing to see at any of them. The Smokies all over again.” Beaker’s diligence in hiking, however, produced 20.1 miles and he ended up in his tent close to the Hexacuba Shelter. Shortly after getting his transient home set up for the night, Sitting Bull and Hoops showed up at camp. This couple had been hiking with Beaker for several days in July but had gotten behind Beaker’s pace. They had cranked out a big-mileage day to catch him in the hopes of hiking through the Whites together. Beaker was elated.

July 15 started with a discouraging rain. “The day looked like every other day we’ve had lately – gray, overcast, misty, humid, wet, and drippy. I’ve actually given up on wearing my glasses when I hike because it is either raining or so humid that they immediately fog up… Don’t even talk to me about the views! Every time I’d come to a rock outcropping on top of a mountain, I’d see this great expanse of white clouds and know that there was a spectacular view hiding in there….The heavy rain left the trail a soggy, slippery mess. The mud was slippery. The rocks were slippery. The roots were slippery. And the logs were slippery. As a result, I took a couple of tumbles today.”  One resulted in a twisted knee and another caused a broken hiking pole. The trio ended the day at the Hiker’s Welcome Hostel.  Tomorrow the hostel staff will drive Sitting Bull, Hoops and Beaker’s non-essential hiking supplies to Notch Hostel in North Woodstock allowing them to hike over Mount Moosilauke with just the minimums for the day. The 10-mile hike over Moosilauke will take most of the day because of the steep ascents and descents. Total miles today – 14.8. Welcome to the Whites – the miles are tough and the terrain is challenging.

July 16 turned out to be a day filled with sunshine! Beaker, Hoops and Sitting Bull were all excited to have good weather as they headed up their first big mountain in the Whites. Slack-packing involves hiking while carrying only the things the hiker needs for that day. They loaded tents, sleeping bags, and extra food into a bag that the hostel transported to the next hostel. Beaker and friends carried a lunch, plenty of water, a first aid kit, and extra clothes, thus reducing the weight from around 30 lbs to about 10 lbs.

MoosilaukeThe climb up Mt. Moosilauke involved climbing 3793 ft in elevation over 5.5 miles. They experienced the summit in beautiful, clear weather. Lots of pictures were snapped and they all enjoyed a lunch on top of Moosilauke. After lunch, the descent began on the other side. It was much steeper than the ascent with several near vertical sections. Beaker’s knees were screaming before the trio were halfway down the mountain. They made it to the base of Moosilauke just in time to catch the shuttle van back to the Notch Hostel.

The plan for July 17 was to slack-pack again from Kinsman Notch, over Wolf Mountain and Kinsman Mountain, and down into Franconian Notch, and then to be picked up by a shuttle in order to stay another night at Notch Hostel. The day broke with more sunshine. 

Beaker was climbing up a slick, tilted rock about eight feet high. At the top, he slid down the rock, wedging his left hiking pole horizontally between a rock and a tree. He had his hand through the wrist strap on the pole. So, he ended up suspended in a prone position on the rock with his wrist trapped in the strap and his feet about a foot off the ground – stuck. Fortunately, Hoops rushed and pushed the hiking pole loose and allowed Beaker to Hailslide back down the rock face to the ground. After checking that all body parts were still functioning correctly, they all enjoyed a good laugh.

Beaker, Sitting Bull and Hoops reached the pickup point at 5:20 PM, just as the first big drops of rain began splattering around them. The shuttle driver, having seen the weather forecast, had arrived early. Just as they dove into the van, the skies opened up with a huge storm, complete with sheets of rain, thunder, lightning, and dime-sized hail.

Tomorrow, Beaker hopes to head up the Franconia Ridge.

 

 

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dartmouth College, Franconia Notch, Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Update from the Trail – Hen, Dulcigal, Peas

Let me provide a quick update on my three remaining thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail that I have been following since day 1 of their adventures: Fat Hen & Rooster Talon (Dano and Beckie from New York), Dulcigal (Karla from Georgia) and the Two Peas: Big Cypress and Animal (Robert and Shawn from Florida).

Fat Hen in the Whites

Fat Hen in the Whites

Hen and Talon, Dano and Beckie last posted on September 13. They do not post very often so it was good to hear from them just last week. They have completed the White Mountains and have crossed into Maine. They shared that the weather through the Whites was almost perfect. With the exception of a little fog, their days were gorgeous and the mountain vistas took their breath away. They seem extremely excited about still being on the trail and having conquered 13 out of the 14 states of the Appalachian Trail adventure.

Dulcigal hiking up Mahoosuc Arm

Dulcigal hiking up Mahoosuc Arm

Dulcigal posted from Monson, Maine on September 14. Kara is making a flip-flop thru-hike, so once she reaches Katahdin, she will go back to Hanover, New Hampshire, and finish walking south to Delaware Water Gap on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to complete the journey. She is about to enter the 100 Mile Wilderness. She and several other hikers have arranged a food drop about half way through the wilderness so food should not be a major factor for them. Dulcigal should arrive at Baxter State Park and the brown sign atop Katahdin within a week.

The Two Peas (Big Cypress and his son, Animal) have continued the hiking experience after Moonbeam broke her leg and needed to “retire” from the trail. Shawn has taken his mom spot as the second pea and the two men are booking it through New England. The boys had a tough go of it over Mount Washington. The weather was too severe on the day they reached the summit to continue [dense fog and 85 mph wind with gusts and as high 102 mph], so Moonbeam, who is supporting her men by following the hikers in a truck,

The New Two Peas in Gorham, NH

The New Two Peas in Gorham, NH

drove the scary, foggy road to the top and “rescued” them. After a nail-biting but successful road trip down off the summit, the trio arrived at Gorham, New Hampshire. They zeroed the next day in Gorham and then drove back the following morning to the summit of Mount Washington.  A two-day hike from the summit allowed the two men arrive back at Gorham on September 18th.  The Two Peas are now about a day’s hike away from entering the last state on the trail, and 283 miles of rugged trail in Maine.

The weather forecast for Millinocket, Maine, (the nearest town to Katahdin), seems very good for the next 15 days – mid 60’s during the day and low 40’s at night. This is great news for those trying to finish before winter makes the trek very treacherous.

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Class of 2016, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Florida, Georgia, Hanover, Hiking, Maine, Mount Katahdin, New Hampshire, Rooster Talon, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Two Peas | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on the 2016 Thru-Hikers

Wow, how the start of a new school year takes time. I have been so focused on the start of school with teacher orientation, student schedules, and administrative details that my blog had to take second place for a bit.

Let me catch you up on some of the thru-hikers still active on the Appalachian Trail. Fat Hen and Rooster Talon are in Vermont; Dulcigal has flip flopped and has just completed the White Mountains in New Hampshire; and Big Cypress (of the Two Peas) is back on the trail with his youngest son at his side and Moonbeam providing trail support.

fat hen in Vermont Cabin

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon – Dan and Beckie reported in on August 22 from the Yellow Deli Hostel in Rutland, Vermont. They posted on their 5 month anniversary on the trail. Beckie’s parents met them on the trail for a gear exchange, sending home the summer gear and loading up for the colder weather in the Whites and the wilderness of Maine. Cold weather gear adds weight to the pack but it is imperative for a comfortable hike through the northern states. In addition to the needed gear, they enjoyed some good food, a Chinese buffet, a gift of banana bread and chocolate cookies from home. They were headed out in high spirits to enter New Hampshire and the challenges of the White Mountains, including ever changing weather atop Mount Washington. Today on the summit of Mount Washington – 52 degrees, 30 mph winds, fog with 100% humidity, visibility 1/16 of a mile.

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulcigal – Karla decided to flip flop her thru-hike attempt. She left Delaware Water Gap, a small community located on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on August 11. She took a bus ride to New York City and then transferred buses for a five hour ride to New Hampshire. Her last post, August 27, finds her almost completing the White Mountains and looking forward to the grand state of Maine. She experienced the thrill and the adversity of the Whites. Here is a portion of her August 25th journal,

“I started off from Crawford Notch getting into Webster Cliffs and Mt. Webster. It was a beautiful morning with some winds but nothing serious. As I was climbing, the weather began to turn for the worse. When I reached the cliffs, I was faced with 70+ mph winds, dark clouds, and rain. The wind was blowing me into the mountain and not off the mountain, which was good! I was having to stay low to the trail to keep from being blown away. I was not properly dressed either. My hands and body were frozen. I finally made it down the mountain to the Mizpah Hut. The caregiver was kind enough to allow me to stay there for the night as a work-for-stay…I was very thankful to be inside out of the cold and wind! I found out after getting there that I somehow missed the “memo” about a storm coming through the area. I wondered why I didn’t see many hikers that day.”

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Big Cypress – The Two Peas (Big Cypress and Moonbeam) began their thru-hike on February 14. Unfortunately, on June 27 Moonbeam experienced a serious fall resulting in a broken femur. They had just entered the state of Vermont when the accident occurred. Moonbeam had to be air lifted to a hospital in Albany, New York and surgery was performed to correct the severe break. After these many weeks off, Big Cypress has decided to complete the hike. On August 26, he arrived back on the trail with his youngest son, Shawn. Moonbeam will be providing trail support as her boys make their way north toward Katahdin. I am so glad to see the return of the Two Peas in just a slightly different pod. I will keep your posted as the hike continues.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Hiking, Maine, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rooster Talon, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Two Peas, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huts in New Hampshire Part 2

HikeItForward-Final-MediumToday’s blog completes the look at the huts in New Hampshire. Although I do not plan to sleep at the huts ($124 per night), they sure will be great stopping places and landmarks along the way. The last blog took a look at the first three huts: Lonesome Lake Hut, Greenleaf Hut and Galehead Hut. Let’s continue our virtual hike in the mountains of NH.

Zealand Falls Hut

Zealand Falls Hut

The Zealand Falls Hut (NOBO mile 1832) is the fourth hut in the system over the Whites. This hut can accommodate 36 people in two coed bunkrooms.  It was completed in 1932 along with Galehead Hut and like the Lonesome Lake Hut, it is popular as a “family” hut due to its low altitude and relatively easy approach climb. It also has the lowest sleeping capacity of all the huts (36), but it is located in Zealand Notch at an elevation of only 2,700 feet.

Mizpah Hut

Mizpah Hut

Mizpah Springs Hut (15 miles north of Zealand Falls Hut) is the newest hut in the system (built in 1964). Materials were brought in by helicopter for its construction and the building was designed to withstand 200 mph winds. It sits on Mount Pierce at 3,800 feet and can facilitate 60 people in coed bunkrooms making it the second largest hut in the system.

Lake of the Clouds

Lake of the Clouds

The highest, largest, and most popular hut in the system is Lakes of the Clouds Hut (mile 1851). It started as a shelter constructed in 1901 in response to the deaths of two hikers caught in a storm on their way to the top of Mount Washington. Fourteen years later it was rebuilt as a hut, and has since been renovated at least five times – the latest in 2005. The hut is the largest of the chain providing bunks for 96 guests. Because of its size and popularity, it is also known as “Lakes of the Crowds” and is nestled in the southern shoulder of Mount Washington at 5,050 feet.

Madison Springs

Madison Springs

Madison Spring Hut, the seventh in the chain, is not only the oldest hut in the series and the oldest hut ion the Appalachian Trail but the oldest hut in the United States  built in 1888. The original hut was expanded many times, however, in 1940, a fire destroyed much of the hut. The following year it was rebuilt and re-opened. The hut was extensively rehabilitated in the fall of 2010 and early 2011. It is the second highest hut in the chain (4800 ft), and sleeps the third highest number of guests (52) in two large coed bunkrooms. It is generally considered the most difficult of the full-service huts to access, based on distance and elevation required to reach it. It is located in the col (or pass) between Mount Madison and Mount Adams. In the photo it is Mount Adams that looms above the hut.

Carter Hut

Carter Notch Hut

The last hut along this trek in the Appalachian Trail is Carter Notch Hut (mile 1873). It was established in 1904 as a simple log cabin; the building was rebuilt as a hut in 1914, making the current hut the oldest building in the hut chain. There are two small ponds located nearby, as well as a tremendous boulder field. Both are results of an 1869 landslide that ravaged nearby Carter Dome’s north slopes. It stands at an elevation of 3,288 feet and can accommodate 40 people in two bunkhouses.

Photo Zealand Falls: http://sectionhiker.com/zealand-falls-hut/

Photo Mizpah: http://terry.terryandjan.net/photos/WhiteMtns_00/

Photo Lake of the Clouds: http://sectionhiker.com/appalachian-mountain-club-huts/img_3151/

Photo Madison Springs: http://sectionhiker.com/on-the-shoulders-of-giants-climbing-white-mountain-sub-peaks/

Photo Carter Notch: http://naturallynewengland.blogspot.com/2010/08/in-shadow-of-cat.html

Resources for information:

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/about-the-trail/terrain-by-state/new-hampshire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Trail#New_Hampshire.

http://hikethewhites.com/at.html

 

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Hiking, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Shelter, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Trail | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A.T. State by State – New Hampshire

HikeItForward-Final-MediumNew Hampshire, The Granite State, has 161 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Most of these miles fall within the White Mountain National Forest. For NOBO thru-hikers like me, NH begins a major challenge that tests one’s endurance beyond mileage and hours: in New Hampshire and continuing into Maine, rugged and steep terrain becomes more intense and true alpine conditions exist on mountain summits and along mountain ridges. The trail travels across 17 of the 48 four-thousand footers of New Hampshire, including 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the highest point on the AT north of Clingmans Dome, Tennessee.

Hanover, NH

Hanover, NH

The first 44 miles of the AT in NH does not start out exceptionally difficult. Within a mile of the Vermont/New Hampshire border the thru-hiker will travel through Hanover, NH. Hanover is the home to Dartmouth College and a friendly town to thru-hikers. The trail walks right through Main Street, Hanover and just about every resupply need can be serviced in this community – trail food, gear, medical, dining, laundromat, showers, overnight accommodations and even veterinary services. I plan to stop in Hanover for a major resupply but then hike a few more miles to Velvet Rocks Shelter for the night.

15 miles north of Velvet Rocks Shelter is Trapper John Shelter, named for Trapper John McKintire of M.A.S.H. fame – this fictional character was presented as a Dartmouth alum.

Hexacuba Shelter

Hexacuba Shelter

Twelve more miles down the trail, the hiker will come to Hexacuba Shelter, an eight-sided shelter with, appropriately, Penta Privy, a five-sided outhouse – likely the only one on the AT. This shelter and privy are 0.3 miles off the trail itself and my plan right now is not to pitch my tent there, but it might be unique enough for me to take a snack break and visit this unique accommodation.

Coming down from the Hexacuba area there are two possible town trips (neither do I plan to visit unless a need requires) – 5 miles from Hexacuba is Wentworth, NH which is 5 miles east of the AT; and Warren, NH (another 5 miles down the trail from Wentworth) is nestled 4 miles east of the trail. I plan to hike down to Jeffers Brook Shelter (5.5 miles past Wentworth) for the night. This camp is right at the beginning of the “Whites.” More information on the Whites coming up on Hike It Forward.

Hanover Photo: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jensenl/visuals/album/2008/hanover/

Hexacuba Shelter http://www.trailjournals.com/photos.cfm?id=195690

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Clingmans Dome, Dartmouth College, Hanover, Hiking, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Tennessee, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Trail | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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